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Teenagers using social networking sites like Facebook are at extremely high risk of ending up being addicted to drink and drugs, researchers have found. Scientists at the National Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse (Casa) at Columbia University, surveyed over 1, 000 children aged between 12 and 17 via an online poll and another 1, 000 by telephone, a popular newspaper reported.
It was observed that teenagers spending a significant amount of time on social networks daily were five times as likely to smoke than those who didnt visit such sites too regularly. They were also three times more likely to abuse alcohol and had double the chances of smoking cannabis (marijuana). The representative survey indicated that peer pressure was playing a major role, with 40 per cent of the teenagers seeing pictures of friends getting drunk on social networking sites. Half of the youngsters say that as early as the tender age of 13, they started seeing pictures of people being drunk, passing out, or using drugs posted on some of these social networking sites. Joseph Califano, Jr who is CASA Columbias Founder and Chairman and former US Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare said: The relationship shared between social networking websites and images of kids drunk, or using drugs lead to a marked increase in the risk of teen substance abuse. This, in turn, offers a grotesque confirmation of the age-old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. The time has come for those who operate and profit from social networking sites to deploy their technological expertise to curb such images and to deny use of their sites to children and teens who post such pictures of themselves and their friends. Anuj Sidhwani, a 12 grade student, agrees. He says, I started drinking at the age of 14 because I saw pictures on Facebook of my brother and his friends drinking.
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